Update on the latest in business:

September 25, 2017 - 1:05 pm


Stocks are opening modestly lower

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock indexes are down today after losses for technology companies overshadowed gains for energy producers and elsewhere.

At 12:54 p.m. Eastern time, the Standard & Poor's 500 fell 8 points, to 2,494.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 76 points, to 22,273.

And the Nasdaq lost 61 points, to 6,366.


Target to up hourly base pay to $15 by end of 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Target Corp. is raising its minimum hourly wage to $11 starting next month and then to $15 by the end of 2020 in a move it says will help it better recruit and retain staff and provide a better shopping experience for its customers.

Target's initiative is part of its overall strategy to reinvent its business. But its move to increase entry-level hourly pay to $15 far exceeds not only the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour but the entry-level hourly base pay at Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, and at plenty of other retail peers whose minimum hourly pay hovers around $10.

The changes come at a time when there's growing concern for the hourly workers' plight. At the same time, competition for workers is becoming increasingly stiff.


European Central Bank chief warns on euro's rise

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi has underlined his concern about the recent rise in the euro's exchange rate.

Draghi says "the recent volatility in the exchange rate represents a source of uncertainty which requires monitoring."

The euro has risen from $1.05 at the start of the year to around $1.19. A further increase could weigh on exports from the eurozone and restrain its ongoing economic recovery. Draghi had also expressed concern about the euro at his Sept. 7 news conference.

Draghi told the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee that the current economic recovery was "firm and broad-based." The ECB is expected to outline at its Oct. 26 meeting how it will start phasing out its bond-buying stimulus worth 60 billion euros ($71 billion) a month.


Deloitte says email cyberattack affected 'very few clients'

LONDON (AP) — Accounting firm Deloitte says it has launched a thorough investigation into a cyberattack that hit its email system.

The company says the breach affected "very few clients" and that government authorities were notified.

The Guardian newspaper reports that the breached system had information from a range of clients, including large companies and U.S. government departments.

The newspaper says hackers gained access through an administrator's account last fall and the attack was discovered in March.

Deloitte says no disruption "occurred to client businesses, to Deloitte's ability to continue to serve clients, or to consumers."

The company says it is "deeply committed to ensuring that its cyber-security defenses are best in class, to investing heavily in protecting confidential information and to continually reviewing and enhancing cybersecurity."


Swiss ABB to buy unit from General Electric for $2.6 billion

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss robotics and industrial machinery maker ABB is buying the electrification services unit of U.S. conglomerate General Electric in a deal valued at $2.6 billion, boosting its presence in its crucial North American market.

The deal between ABB, which provides high-tech equipment for the transport, utility and infrastructure industries, and GE is expected to close in the first half of next year.

In a joint statement, the companies say the electrification services unit was not a "core business" for GE.

The Swiss company expects the transaction to add to its bottom line within the first year. ABB says it will retain the right to use GE's brand over the long-term, and expects synergies of about $200 million per year after five years.

The deal will require approval from national regulators.


Studying 1 million people to end cookie-cutter health care

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. researchers are getting ready to recruit more than 1 million people for an unprecedented study to learn how our genes, environments and lifestyles interact.

Today, health care is based on averages, what worked best in short studies of a few hundred or thousand patients. The massive "All of Us" project instead will push what's called precision medicine, using traits that make us unique to forecast health and treat disease.

The goal is to end cookie-cutter health care.

A pilot is under way now. If all goes well, the National Institutes of Health plans to open enrollment early next year.

Participants will get DNA tests, and report on their diet, sleep, exercise and numerous other health-affecting factors. It's a commitment: The study aims to run for at least 10 years.


Uber CEO apologizes to users for company's mistakes

LONDON (AP) — The new CEO of Uber has apologized for past mistakes just days after London's transport authority said it would scrap the company's operating license.

Dara Khosrowshahi (kahz-roh-SHAH'-hee) said in letter today that the company "has got things wrong along the way" as it expanded. He says the company will appeal the decision but will do so "with the knowledge that we must also change."

The city's transportation agency, Transport for London, said last week it would not renew Uber's license when it expires Sept. 30, citing a lack of corporate responsibility and concern for public security.

Uber has long been a target of complaints from taxi drivers and companies. Cab drivers say Uber drivers don't have to comply with the same licensing standards, giving the ride-hailing service an unfair advantage.


Vovlo invests $520M to build 2nd vehicle in South Carolina

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Volvo Cars says it will invest an additional $520 million in its South Carolina plant under construction, adding nearly 2,000 more jobs and putting the production of another vehicle in the factory.

Gov. Henry McMaster says that Volvo will also add sales offices, a training facility and research and development center to the Berkeley County site, just off Interstate 26 about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of the port in Charleston.

Volvo said two years ago it would bring 2,000 workers to its new plant to make the new S60 sedan. The first sedan should roll off the line next year.

The company says that workers hired under today's announcement will build a revamped XC90 SUV starting in 2021.


Semi-autonomous Cadillacs en route to dealerships

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors' Cadillac luxury brand is going on a cross-country drive to show off its version of a car that almost drives itself on the freeway.

A dozen Cadillac CT6 sedans equipped with GM's "Super Cruise" system will leave New York today and head for Los Angeles. The drive comes as cars with Super Cruise start arriving at dealerships.

Cadillac calls Super Cruise the first hands-free driver-assist system for freeways. It will keep the car centered in its lane and a safe distance from vehicles in front of it. The system works only on limited-access freeways. Drivers won't have to keep their hands on the steering wheel, but Super Cruise will monitor their faces to make sure they are ready to take over in an emergency.


Microsoft AI in use at Macy's, handling service requests

UNDATED (AP) — Microsoft, through its research into artificial intelligence, has created a virtual assistant that can be used by companies to respond to customer service requests.

At the company's Ignite conference in Orlando, Florida, today, CEO Satya Nadella said that Macy's and Hewlett-Packard have already begun to use the technology.

In a push to prioritize its year-old workplace chat software, Microsoft Teams, the company also says that it's folding Skype for Business into Teams. The software is competing with other online services from upstart Slack and bigger rivals like Google.

Microsoft is also launching new workplace software for people who don't typical work from a desk.


How tall is that wall? Lowe's has a measuring app for that

NEW YORK (AP) — Lowe's Cos. wants customers to drop the tape measure and pick up an iPhone instead.

The home improvement retailer launched an app today that lets users measure walls, sofas or any other object they want with their iPhone. The app, called Measured by Lowe's, uses the smartphone's camera to measure items in a room. Measurements can be saved for later or shared on social media. The app uses augmented reality technology that was recently made available to some iPhones.

Other retailers have also tapped into augmented reality. Online furniture seller Wayfair, for example, added a function in its app last week that lets shoppers see how Wayfair's sofas, lamps or other items look in their room using an iPhone or iPad.


Raycom Media, Community Newspaper Holdings announce merger

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two of the nation's largest media organizations are announcing a merger.

Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. says it and Raycom Media Inc. have agreed to merge into a new privately owned media group.

Montgomery, Alabama-based CNHI owns more than 110 newspapers, websites and publications in 22 states.

Raycom Media, also based in Montgomery, owns or operates 65 television and two radio stations in 20 states.

Under the merger agreement, CNHI will operate as a Raycom Media subsidiary.

The merger is expected to be completed Sept 29.

The statement said that in seven cases where markets for Raycom Media broadcast stations and CNHI newspapers overlap, the newspaper properties will be sold to a third party.

Both Raycom and CNHI are financed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama.


Airbnb launches local tours in NYC with Sarah Jessica Parker

UNDATED (AP) — Airbnb is launching local tours and other experiences in New York City this week with a special host.

Her listing promises an "unforgettable shoe-shopping experience" and her bio describes her as an "actor, producer, businesswoman" and "proud New Yorker."

She's Sarah Jessica Parker of 'Sex and the City' fame and she'll be taking four guests shoe-shopping at Bloomingdale's, then sending them to the ballet.

Parker's listing goes live Tuesday, with four spots at $400 each, first come, first served. The money will benefit the New York City Ballet, where Parker is a board member.

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